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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 9, 2014 3:00pm-5:01pm EDT

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designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 2 printed in house report 113-581 offered by mr. bishop of new york. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 715, the gentleman from new york, mr. bishop, and a member opposed, will each control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. bishop: thank you, mr. chairman. my amendment gets to the heart of the debate on this proposed rule. for months opponents of the proposed rule have made numerous claims about its impacts. yet, despite numerous efforts by representatives of the administration to answer these claims and to point out how many of these claims are simply false, we seem to go around and around again and again on these allegations. . my amendment simply addresses these concerns and claims saying that if any of them prove to be true, then the secretary of the administrator are prohibited from issuing any final rule that would bring about these occurrences. for example, opponents of the proposed rule have claimed that this rule expands the scope of
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clean water act authority. when asked this direct question during our subcommittee hearing, the administration's witness stated clearly that the proposed rule, quote, would not assert jurisdiction over any type of waters not previously protected over the past 40 years, closed quote. under my amendment, if the administration is proven incorrect, the final rule could not be implemented. similarly, opponents have suggested that the rule is inconsistent with the rulings and jurisdictional tests outlined by the supreme court. the administration witness has testified that this rule is consistent with the as it tests outlined by the supreme court. if my outline is acosmopolitanned, -- is adopted, then the final rule could not be implemented. opponents have claimed that the proposed rule increases the regulation of ditches. the administration has test testified that in fact it would reduce the scope of jurisdiction al ditches that are covered by the -- jurisdictional ditches that are
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covered by the guides. if this is incorrect, the rule cannot be implemented. opponents contend that under this rule, individuals would be required to have federal clean water act permits for draining farm ponds or for activities in the water on your driveways or your bird baths -- baths or puddles in your backyard. the administration has asserted obviously that these types of watters have never been subject to the clean water act, nor would they be under this rulemaking. if somehow the administration is wrong about this, under my amendment, the final rule could not be implemented. lastly, opponents contend that the rule would eliminate existing statutory and regulatory exemptions for agriculture or increase the regulation of groundwater or require federal clean water act permits for land use activities. yet the administration has time and time again testified that these assertions are simply inaccurate. again, if my amendment is adopted, and the administration is incorrect, the final rule
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cannot go forward. in my view, this administration has put forward a good faith effort to provide additional clarity on the scope of clean water act protections for our nation's waters, consistent with current scientific information, as well as the precedent of the supreme court. while it is not perfect, this rule is far better than the current regulatory process that that is led to numerous delays, significant increases and compliance costs and greater difficulty in protecting our nation's water resources. i urge the adoption of my amendment and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio seek recognition? >> mr. chairman, i claim time in opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentleman from ohio is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i most strongly oppose the gentleman's amendment because it seeks to gut this legislation. this would amendment -- this endment would allow thed a
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administration to go forward and finalize its flawed rule. if they determine entirely on their own that the rule is consistent with the supreme court decisions and other factors listed in this amendment. basically the e.p.a. could self-certify that they're ready to move forward. this amendment is misleading. the administration has already stated that they believe the proposed rule is consistent with the supreme court decisions and other factors listed in this amendment. mr. gibbs: so the effect of this amendment is to allow the agencies to finalize their flawed rule that many believe is not consistent with the supreme court decisions and other listed factors. this amendment would put the u.s. e.p.a. solely in charge of america's waters and would take away the federal-state partnership that h.r. 5078 seeks to preserve. it would allow the e.p.a. to finalize and implement the rule without consulting with the states. let me repeat that. it would allow the u.s. e.p.a. to move forward without consulting with their counterpart, state e.p.a.'s. in contrast, h.r. 5078 preserves the federal-state partnership that was set up under the clean water act in 1972. this important legislation recognizes that the proposed
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administration rule has created controversy, confusion and discord in the clean water regulatory programs. the bill -- this bill, 5078, calls for a time-out, to stop the final development of this ill-conceived rule. in addition, it requires that the agencies consult with state and local governments to develop a consensus rule that will work and protect our water resources. as i said in the general debate, in our subcommittee, they were not able to identify any state regulatory agency that supports this proposed rule. that ought to be a red flag to all the american people and all the stakeholders involved. expansion of this jurisdiction, if, as my friend from the other side talked about, the issue about expansion of jurisdiction , you know, i would argue, why is the secretary trying to put together an interpretive rule had they say that agriculture is exempt from these practices?
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so why move forward? we don't need this rule. i urge members to oppose this amendment and support the underlying bill. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. bishop: mr. speaker, i yield whatever time i have remaining to mr. defazio of oregon. the chair: the gentleman from oregon has two minutes. and is recognized. mr. defazio: i thank the gentleman. remember, should this bill pass and become law, which it never will, it will tie us to the 2003, 2008 guidance, which the farm bureau has described as a hodgepodge of ad hoc and inconsistent jurisdictional theories and will result in and is resulting in increased delays and cost to the public at large. that's why we're here today. everybody agrees that we need clarification. but you are excluding them from using the judicial decisions, any document that was used in coming up with this problematic rule and saying you can't use
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any of that. so basically we are stuck with the 2003, 2008 guidance which prior to this grandstanding over here everybody agreed needed to be fixed. now we're going to be stuck with it forever. instead of using a legislative scap pell, you pulled out the -- scralpel, you pulled out the giant -- scalpel, you pulled out the giant sledgehammer here. this cannot -- they cannot extend the scope beyond those water bodies covered prior to the decisions of the u.s. supreme court in those two cases. it cannot be inconsistent with the judicial opinions of scalia, kennedy. this is not judgmental stuff, this is clear legislative restrictions. this would be taking and putting walls around their rulemaking and saying, no you stay inside those rules. and in addition to that, you would -- you know, they can't increase the regulation of
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ditches, they can't eliminate any historical, statutory or regulatory exemptions for agriculture which do not exist under the 2003, 2008 rules. and there are questions about ditches under the 2003, 2008 rules. they're interpreted different in all parts of the country. so you're going to bind us to something that doesn't work because you want to grandstand and pretend you're doing something for people who have legitimate concerns. sometimes it's harder to say to them, this is a difficult and complicated question because americans want to preserve the clean waters of the united states. we don't want to go back in time. we also want you people to farm and to ranch and do other productive activities. that's hard to do. and that isn't what this bill before us today will do. it will bind us to the problems of the past. the chair: the gentleman will suspend. the question is now on the amendment offered by the gentleman from new york. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the gentleman from new york. mr. bishop: i request the yeas and nays. the chair: does the gentleman
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ask for a recorded vote? mr. bishop: i'm sorry, requesting a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from new york will be postponed. it's now in order to consider amendment number 3 printed in house report 113-581. for what purpose does the gentleman from new york seek recognition? mr. bishop: mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 3 printed in house report 113-581 offered by mr. bishop of new york. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 715, the gentleman from new york, mr. bishop, and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. bishop: thank you, mr. speaker. my amendment would address one of the fundamental flaws i see in this legislation. enactment of h.r. 5078 would almost certainly block current and future efforts to clarify the scope of the clean water act. unfortunately this would lock in place the interpreted guidance of the bush administration, which took the
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narrowest and most cumbersome and confusing interpretation of the two recent supreme court decisions and has been uniformly criticized by the stakeholder community as well as the conservation and environmental community. i think it's important to remember that under the current bush administration guidance, traditional clean water act protections over a significant percentage of waters have been called into question or have simply been lost. these are clean water act protections that existed for over 30 years prior to the issuance of the first bush era guidance in 2003 and are now all but lost, making it harder and more costly for individual states to protect their own waters should their upstream neighbors be unwilling or unable to fill in the gap in protecting water quality. as we all know, if pollution is allowed to increase due to the competing financial and political interests of states, that pollution needs to go somewhere. and since pollution does not respect state boundaries when it travels down stream, it will have an adverse impact on the quality of life and the quality
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of the environment of those downstream states. as highlighted in my amendment, the end result of this will be that downstream states will become responsible for treating the pollution of their upstream neighbors which at a minimum will increase the compliance cost of downstream states and at a maximum may destroy the ecological or economic health of these states. as i have noted before, my district in new york is separated from connecticut by the long island sound. over time the number of polluters in the area has increased exponentially, killing fish, lobsters and imperiling the $5 billion of economic output that the region depends upon. fortunately the states decided that the sound was impaired and put a more restrictive water quality standard for nitrogen, a $5 billion crisis has been averted. however, under the current bush era guidance, questions have arisen whether the clean water act protections continue to apply to the upper reaches of watersheds, streams and wetlands that feed the rives that are eventually flow into
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the sound. under h.r. 5078, eeb would be prohibited from -- e.p.a. would be prohibited from ensuring that polluters in connecticut continue to reduce nitrogen in the sound, leaving my constituents in the state of new york without any recourse under the clean water act to stop them. if this bill were to pass, individual states would decide that collective efforts to address the water quality impairments of the chesapeake bay, the puget sound, the great lakes or the gulf of mexico were unus inly restrictive or burdensome and refuse to -- were unnecessarily restrictive or burdensome. this go it alone approach flies in the face of science, of commonsense and decades of experience in i.menting the clean water act -- in implementing the clean waggetter act. this would -- water act. is bill would increase the surface waters, two, increase the cost incurred by a downstream state to maintain or
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achieve or approve water quality standards for that state, or, three, to cause or contribute to the impairment of surface or coastal waters of another state. the committee on transportation and infrastructure created the clean water act over 40 years ago as a response to burning rivers, to great lakes that were pronounced dead and to an understanding that a state by state approach to protecting water simply didn't work. let's not repeat the sins of the past. but commit to moving forward in our efforts to protect the nation's waters. support my amendment and allow the agency to put back in place reasonable, comprehensive protections of our nation's waters. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio rise? mr. gibbs: i claim time in opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. gibbs: i most strongly oppose the gentleman's amendment because it seeks to undermine the intent of this legislation. there's a great deal of controversy over what the e.p.a.'s proposed rule would do or not do. is the to that
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interpretive rule by the department of agriculture. time out. the bill says stop this rules process, go back to the state, back to the stakeholders and local governments and work together and that was the intent of the clean water act. so let's have these agencies work together to develop a consensus rule that will actually provide clarity and will allow the federal and state governments to work as partners in protecting america's waters. this amendment would give the e.p.a. unfettered discretion in making determinations regarding state water quality standards. taking away the federal-state partnership that this legislation is seeking to preserve. again, i need to remind everybody what this bill does. this bill says, time-out, e.p.a., army corps of engineers, go back to the drawing board, go back to the states, work with the states, and develop a consensus to the rule that you need. go back to the partnership.
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let's have a cooperative arrange -- relationship between the states and the federal e.p.a. let's have commonsense proposals to protect our nation's waters and not a one-size-fits-all policy coming out of washington, d.c. because when it comes to water bodies, streams and so on, one-size-fits-all policies don't always work. we need to be working with those local governments and states to develop the policies to protect and enhance our environment at the local level. . so let's send it back, support house bill 5078 and make sure that our u.s. e.p.a. and the army corps of engineers will work with their counterparts to seek commonsense policies to protect and enhance our water quality and our safe drinking water here in the united states. i urge all members to oppose the amendment. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from new york. mr. bishop: i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the
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gentleman from new york. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. mr. bishop: mr. chairman, i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: the gentleman from new york requests for a recorded vote. pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from new york will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio rise? >> mr. speaker, i move the committee do now rise. the chair: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is adopted. accordingly, the committee rises. mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: mr. chairman. the chair: the committee of the whole house on the state of the union having had under consideration h.r. 5078 directs me to report that it has come to no resolution thereon. the speaker pro tempore: the committee of the committee of
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the whole house on the state of the union reports that the committee has had under consideration h.r. 5078 and has come to no resolution thereon. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, pursuant to house resolution 715, i call up house resolution 644 and ask for its immediate consideration. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the resolution. the clerk: house calendar number 133, house resolution 644, resolution condemning and disapproving of the obama administration's failure to comply with the lawful statutory requirement to notify congress before releasing individuals detained at united
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states naval station, guantanamo bay, cuba, and expressing national security concerns over the release of five taliban leaders and the repercussions of negotiating with terrorists. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to house resolution 715 the amendment to the text and preamble printed in the resolution are adopted and the resolution, as amended, is considered as read. the gentleman from california, mr. mckeon, and the gentleman from washington, mr. smith, will each control 30 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. mckeon: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and and to heir remarks include extraneous material on h.res. 644. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. mckeon: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. mckeon: mr. speaker, i rise in support of house resolution 644, a resolution offered by mr. rigell of virginia,
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condemning the obama administration's failure to comply with the requirement to notify congress before transferring individual detainees from guantanamo bay. i'd like to thank mr. rigell on this deeply troubling issue. he worked across the aisle to author a bipartisan resolution, sponsored by 94 members of the house, including myself, focused on the obama administration's clear violation of staff tute passed by the legislative branch and enacted into law by the president. i'd like to thank ranking member smith. though he did not support this resolution in its entirety, i appreciate his cannedor and his commitment to -- candor and his commitment to fostering a thoughtful debate within our committee. the administration violated the law and house resolution 644 articulates this simple message. it passed out of the armed services committee with a
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bipartisan vote. section 1035 of the national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2014 requires the secretary of defense to notify the appropriate committees of congress at least 30 days before the transfer or release of any individual detained at gitmo. there are no waivers to this clause, no exceptions, period. yet, on may 31 at the request of the taliban and in exchange for sergeant bergdahl, who was held by the haqqani network, the administration sent five senior taliban leaders from gitmo to qatar. the administration took this action without notifying congress. this is an obvious violation of the law. there can be no confusion on this point. in fact, the nonpartisan government at accountability office recently determined that
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the administration violated the law by failing to notify congress, but also by expending funds to carry out the transfers without an appropriation for that purpose. the statutory provision of the ndaa was written and approved by a bipartisan majority in congress because of genuine concerns the dangerous terrorists were leaving gitmo and returning to fight against the u.s. or its allies. by requiring the secretary of defense to contain -- give detailed information to congress, we need to have a complete understanding of the risks of sending gitmo detainees elsewhere and how those risks might be mitigated. in transferring the taliban five without lawfully notifying congress, the administration deprived congress of the opportunity to consider the national security risks that such a transfer could pose or
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the repercussions of negotiating with terrorists. if congress does not speak strongly now to condemn such blatant disregard for the law, any future administration any come to believe that obedience to statute is not a requirement for the executive branch. this is intolerable, and for this reason i support this resolution and will ask my colleagues in the house to adopt it. again, i thank mr. rigell, mr. barrow, mr. rahall and mr. ribble for introducing this bipartisan resolution, and i urge my colleagues to adopt it. mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california reserves his time. the chair recognizes the gentleman from washington, mr. smith. mr. smith: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for as much time as he wishes. mr. smith: there are two issues important to this piece of
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legislation. the first, the chairman mentioned, and that is the legality of this. however, he's wrong in the idea in saying that this is, you know, clear on its face and there's no debate. there's actually considerable debate as to whether or not the president's actions were legal. the president and the secretary of defense have stated unequivocally that they believe they acted within the law. this is actually an issue that comes up repeatedly between the legislative and the executive branch. it's been coming up for a couple hundred years now, and the administration's position is that they acted in accordance with their article 2 commander in chief authority in the interest of national security in had bringing one of our soldiers home, and it is their position that article 2 of the constitution, which is a law, supersedes the piece of legislation that was referenced about 30 days' notice that was passed and therefore their actions were legal. this is in no way unprecedented. i'm sure if we went back and examined the history, just about every president at one time or another did something
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contrary to a piece of legislation or a law because they felt article 2 required them to do so. they felt article 2, the constitution, which is a law, superseded the legislation in question. in fact, we don't have to go back very far. president george w. bush repeatedly took actions that were in violation of the clear law. po1 he basically authorized warrantless wiretapping, president bush asserted his article 2 authority. so therefore it was legal to do that. go back to abraham lincoln who suspended habeas corpus in the same way. this is a long-running debate between the legislative and the executive branch, and never before has the legislative branch stepped out, a piece of to slation like that, censur the president. perfectly consistent with what
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george w. bush and a whole lot of other folks did. i think it's wrong to say he violated the law when this is a long-running debate between the executive and legislative branch. i believe that the president should have given us 30 days' notice. the reason they didn't is they were concerned the information would be leaked. this was a very sensitive negotiation and they were told if the information was leaked it would kill the deal and they were deeply concerned about sergeant bergdahl's health and if any further delay happened that he might not survive his current incarceration with the taliban. that was their reason for doing it. while i have said and will continue to say that i think he should have given us that 30 days' notice, that i think congress has proven repeatedly that we can in fact keep a secret. we've been told about a number of sensitives things and not revealed that. think it's -- senator saxby
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chamblee said if -- i would have done everything i could to stop it. now, after having been explained that's exactly why the president was reluctant to tell congress, the senator walked himself back and said he wouldn't, but his initial reaction sort of shows that the president and the administration were not completely out of bounds in thinking their ability to bring sergeant bergdahl home might have been jeopardized by allowing congress to know that. be that as it may, i think they should have. i think we've proven ourselves capable of keeping secret and given us 30 days' notice. on a legality action, this is consistent with what large number of presidents have done in the past. so call this president out specifically i think is wrong which brings us to the second issue and that is the partisan nature of this body. now it's not unique to this body. regrettably, if you go back and look at instances where the president is of one party and the congress is of another, that is when investigations are off the charts.
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somehow when both the president and the congress are in the same party we don't have anywhere near the condemnation, anywhere near the investigations for actions on and on and that regrettably reflects the deepening partisan rift in washington, d.c. and that ultimately is what i think this legislation reflects. it is simply an opportunity for a republican congress to take a shot at a democratic president. if it was more than that, then back 10 years ago when president george w. bush was violating all manner of different statutory law under his, you know, articulated article 2 powers, then we would have had something out of this congress that said, hey, don't do that. we didn't. all we had was silence. now, unfortunately what that leads the public to believe is this is a partisan exercise. and we need fewer partisan exercises, not more. i think it's perfectly appropriate for many members, as i did and others to say, the president should have given us notice. he should have given us 30 days. for this to be the first or i
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guess the second issue, since we had the water bill before this, when we take up after recess, when you look at the national security challenges out there it makes the public shake their head and say, here we go again, another partisan exercise. so unfortunately i think this piece of action is unnecessary and it further poisons the well between the congress and the president and, again, i do not feel the president violated the law. he had a different interpretation of it, as many presidents before him have. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington reserves his time. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. mckeon: thank you, mr. speaker. i must respond to a couple points made by my friend from washington. we agree on more than we disagree on. this item we disagree on. it seems to be his main argument is that because other presidents have done it it's ok for this president to do it. in other words, two wrongs make a right. i don't think that's the point.
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i think at some point you have to draw the line and that's what we're doing right now. and then secondly, he said that the president said that he really believed he wasn't breaking the law. you know, the prisons are full of people that say they don't think they broke the law, but some judge thinks they did. in this instance, until you take the matter to the court, it is the law, and even though he's the president of the united states, he did break the law. this time, mr. speaker, i yield five minutes to my friend and colleague, a member of the armed services committee and the lead co-sponsor and the one from day one provided the leadership on this issue, the gentleman from virginia, mr. rigell. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized for five minutes. mr. rigell: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank chairman mckeon for his leadership in bringing this resolution to the floor. i thank my original co-sponsors, congressman ribble, barrow and rahall for standing with me in this.
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i respect my colleague, the ranking member, ranking member smith. my respect for him is not diminished by the fact we have strong but different views on this matter. i don't share the ease with which he has accepted the president's -- i believe -- refusal to follow the law, and i reject outright and i must do so in this chamber the assertion that this is partisan. it is not partisan. it is in my service to virginia's second congressional district, an increasing number of men and women from a diverse audience in my district are deeply troubled by the president's continued pattern of going outside of the law and executive overreach and this is an example that hits home in my r district which is more active men and wrim in uniform than any other district. they are increasingly asking me this question, what is congress doing about this? and this resolution today is a
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direct manifestation of my duty and i believe our collective duty to hold the president accountable for break the law. . the ease with which some have said he hasn't broken the law, it's an independent nonpartisan agency and this sum tier found that -- summer it found that releasing the taliban senior commanders, in fact the administration did break the law. that's really not in dispute. and in we don't hold the administration accountable for this, who will? that's what we do. and making sure that the balance of powers is adhered to. i think it's important that we look at who was released. among those released is the taliban's deputy defense minister and the president himself acknowledged that there is absolutely the possibility of these senior taliban commanders returning to the battlefield and they can be released by the government of qatar in less than nine months.
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and the president has more confidence in the government of qatar than i do. or than i think the american people do. despite the administration's unlawful duty to engage congress, despite congress' clear objective -- objection in 2011 on these very same detainees, a bipartisan message was sent clearly to the administration, don't release these prisoners. it's not in the national interest and security interests of the united states and yet the administration did so. despite the damage that was done to our policy of not negotiating with terrorists, and finally despite the increased risk that this brings to americans, i believe on the battlefield in afghanistan, the administration plowed ahead and it was far more than unwise, it was unlawful. and it merits condemnation. i'll close with this. i really didn't want to bring this to the floor. i know we have plenty of partisan bickering around here. but i look for someone else and maybe another member who was
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bringing something to the floor, i couldn't find it. i thought, well, i guess it falls towls. and i appreciate the ranking member meeting with me and the conversation we had about this matter. we hold different views on this. but i believe this is best for our nation and indeed best for our president and our country and certainly for our men and women in uniform. i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote in affirmative. i thank the gentleman for yielding. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. members reminded to refrain from engaging in personalities toward the president. the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from washington is recognized. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself two minutes just to respond quickly. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. >> first of all, the g.a.o. study specifically said they didn't address the constitutional issue. they didn't address article two. they simply said, on the plain reading of the statute, 30 days' notice was require and 30 days notice wasn't given. mr. smith: the statute itself is really not in question.
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nor that the president didn't give the notice required. the question is one that we've had repeat lid as to when the president has the authority under his article two authority to go in a different direction of statute. as was mentioned, that happened many times, most recently with george w. bush on warrantless wiretapping and indefinite detention and a number of other issues. that's number one. the g.a.o. did not comment on that specific issue. the second thing i would say is we're not really arguing that the two wrongs make a right. we're arguing about whether or not it was wrong in the first place. i still haven't heard anyone stand up on the other side who supports this issue and say, gosh, we missed an opportunity, president george w. bush was absolutely wrong to have taken those actions that he did and contrary to statute and did something that was illegal and we're very mad about that and as long as we're talking about it, we should mention the fact that that was -- i haven't heard anyone say that. because i think the implication is on that side they didn't think it was wrong. that's the issue. is it wrong for the president to do something that he believes is in the national
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security interests of the country under his article two authority? i think most people would say, sometimes yes, sometimes no. it's a debatable issue. so it's not matter of saying two wrongs make a right. it's a matter of arguing whether or not it was wrong in the first place. and consistency is the hob goblin of small minds, as the saying goes. but that certainly is enough inconsistency on this issue to make people believe that this is more partisan motivated than it is purely policy and conscience motivated. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington reserves his time. the gentleman from california is recognized. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i pointed out to the gentleman recently that neither of us were in these jobs when president bush was in office. mr. mckeon: so we don't know what we would have done at that time. i would hope that if he went against the law, that we would take similar action.
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i think that we would have done that. i yield at this time three minutes to my friend and colleague, the chairman of the subcommittee on readiness, the gentleman from virginia, mr. wittman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized for three minutes. mr. wittman: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today as maybe of the house armed services committee and as chairman of the readiness subcommittee to voice my support for house resolution 644 and i'd like to thank the chairman for his leadership in bringing this to the floor and i respect deeply the ranking member but adamantly disagree with him on the points that he makes about this piece of legislation. very simply stated, the prisoner swap authorized by the president to exchange five taliban captives for sergeant bergdahl was illegal. that part of the law was not followed. pretty plain and simple. by failing to notify the congress in accordance with the 30-day reporting requirement, our president acted outside of the law. clearly it wasn't authorized and the law was ignored.
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you can make arguments about what other prerogatives he had, but you can't say, well, article two will put in place and that trumps other areas of the law. you have to say in this law was disregarded. our constitution clearly outlines those separations of powers. in this principle -- and this principle is the corner stone of our democracy. our framers carefully corporate rated the division of government and the responsibilitied there in order to protect citizens by preventing any one branch of government from overreach and abuse of power. that's why we're here. to have these type of debates and say the president clearly acted outside of the law. and i'll make this even clearer. congress makes the laws, the president on the other hand has the constitutional charge of ensuring the laws are faithfully executed. not just part of them. but all of them. in this cases the president knowingly and willfully disregarded his constitutional duties and americans deserve better. americans expect that their president will uphold his end of the constitutional bargain.
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and americans expect that the laws and land apply to everyone and that they are applied properly in accordance with the direction from congress. americans also expect that their congressional leaders are simply not going to slug their shoulders and look the other way. congress has an obligation to the people to ensure that its laws are enforced. that's why we were elected. and our nation remains today at a tipping point in this world's history, in a war against terrorism. the unlawful release of five taliban prisoners, some of whom will certainly return to the battlefield, deeply concerns me. an investigation i led in 2012 indicated at the time that 27% returned to the battlefield. that's why i remain skeptical of the administration's assessment that the released prisoners will not pose a threat to our national security. we have no idea how much more terror these men now might unleash and what impacts they will have on the lives of
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others. by ignoring the law, the president has decided that he's going to shoulder this responsibility. i argue he had an obligation under the law to consult congress in doing this. that's why it was put into the national defense authorization act. we live in a nation where people expect their elected leaders to carry out their duties as the constitution directs them. and every day each of us is entrusted by the public to uphold the constitution and we must live up to that obligation. mr. speaker, i fully support house resolution 644 and urge my colleagues to support this institution and our constitution. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from california reserves. and the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield four minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. sherman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized. or four minutes. mr. sherman: we're here to consider a technical violation
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of section 1035 of the national defense authorization act. a fair reading of that section would indicate that it is drafted and focused on gratuitous prisoner releases. the many occasions prior to the adoption of that section, when the prior administration or this administration chose to release a prisoner. and when applied to the situation for which it was drafted, it's a practical and fully constitutional provision. it's practical because it involves a 30-day delay in release of a prisoner where there's no particular hurry to release the prisoner. we releaseed the prisoner 30 days after the notice, we make the decision to release the prisoner, the prisoner is released. tanned gives congress 30 days
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to perhaps pass a law prohibiting such release. and i believe it's constitutional because it doesn't interfere with the commander in chief's ability to safeguard and protect the soldiers under his command. now there is an attempt to criticize the president for not following this statute when it's applied to a situation for which it was not drafted and when it's applied in such a way where it becomes incredibly imprktcal, perhaps impossible -- impractical, perhaps impossible, and constitutionally questionable. we have had prisoner exchanges in every war we've fought and they have been implemented by the executive branch. even in world war ii. we had prisoner exchanges before the end of the war. now, as a practical matter, if you have a 30-day delay in
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effectuating a prisoner exchange, it is not just the u.s. government that has 30 days to think about whether to go through with the decision. you also give the enemy 30 days to think about it. and the hard liners within the enemy's counsel can eliminate the deal. so it's imprktcal -- impractical, especially if it was a good deal. now this may not have been a good deal but there may come a time when we have negotiated a very good, favorable to america, prisoner exchange and this provision would say it's prevented not by decisions of the congress or the president but by decisions made by our enemy in their counsels. but second, a prisoner exchange returns to the united states a soldier under the command and protection of the commander in chief. e has a constitutional duty to
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protect and hopefully return home safely our soldiers. when you create a circumstance that makes it practically impossible to have a prisoner exchange, because in order to have one you have to give the hardliners within the enemy's counsel an ability to upset it, then you have i believe unconstitutionally interfered with the role of the commander in chief. we tell our commander in chief to bring as many as possible of our men and women home safely. we cannot at the same time in effect prohibit any prisoner exchange which the enemy hardliners may disagree with. now, i'm not here to praise the bergdahl decision. i think i disagree with it. i know i disagree with it. but i am here to say that this was a code section not designed to apply to the situation, cannot practically be applied to the situation and is
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constitutionally questionable as applied to this situation. given that -- i'll request one more minute. mr. smith: i yield the gentleman an additional minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for one minute. mr. sherman: given that, how can it be said that it's a good use of congress' time to pass some formal resolution attacking the president for not following -- for not applying to this situation a code section so infirm? i think that what we're doing today is dodging the real responsibility of congress. we are engaged now in bombing isis. the constitution says that congress should play a role in making that decision. many of our colleagues would prefer to dodge the issue. it's safer to attack the president from what he did in the past than to participate in the decisions of the future. we should be dealing with an authorization to utilize
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military force against isis, we should be debating the term that that applies, we should be debating whether it applies to air power alone or whether under some circumstances we should have boots on the ground. but no. we're not dealing with that. that's too tough a vote. that's a bipartisan -- that's a vote on which members of both parties might disagree. instead we're playing around with this resolution. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from washington reserves. and the gentleman from california is recognized. . mr. mckeon: mr. speaker, just a little reality check here, i offered the points that went into the national defense authorization act, and i did it -- one of the reasons was because we specifically did not want any transferees of detainees to be taken from guantanamo without alerting the congress because they had tried it before and it had pushback
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from the congress and we felt like we should have a part in that -- protect our people. you know, there are 80 people, detainees at guantanamo, that have been vetted, that are approved for possible transfer to some suitable location. none of those five were on that list. all were considered too dangerous to be on that list. there are several months of negotiations. there was plenty of time to give us the 0 days' notice. they talked to 80 to 90 people in four different executive branches -- the state department, the defense department, the white house, the homeland security but not one member of congress in compliance with the law, they didn't talk to senator reid, they didn't talk to senator feinstein, they didn't talk to the speaker, nobody, and that was not accidental. that was a firm decision to
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avoid the law, to avoid going to the congress which was required. mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to my friend and colleague, a member of the budget committee and co-sponsor of the resolution, the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. ribble. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from wisconsin is recognized for two minutes. mr. ribble: i thank you, mr. speaker, and i thank the chairman for yielding. article 1, section 1 of the constitution says the congress shall have the power -- repeat -- congress shall have the power to make rules concerning the capture on land and water. december 26, 2013, the president of the united states signed into law the congress' action on article 1, section 8 regarding making rules. the president had options on december 26, 2013. he could have signed it like he did and accepted language that was in there, knowing it was in there. i'm assuming someone over there
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knew it was in there. at that point congress could have done whatever they wanted to do. they could override it. they could rewrite it. they could revote on it and send it back again. but the president didn't have the -- what the president didn't have the right to do was change it i heard a couple times today quoting article 2 of the constitution. i read it about a dozen times. it's relatively short. i'm trying a hard time finding authority. before he enter -- article 2, before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation. i do solemnly swear or affirm that i will faithfully execute the office of the president of the united states and will do the best of my ability to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the united states. later it says that the president, he shall take care that the laws be faithfully -- faithfully executed.
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the idea that the president can take the very law that he signed into existence by putting his name on it, the very law as a suggestion, whether or not any president before him did it is tantamount to someone being pulled over for speeding sayingry sped because the guy in front of me did it. then there are no laws. the laws that the congress sends over and the president signs are not recommendations, not suggestions. mr. speaker, the president of the united states broke the law. no matter what another congress does, what another congress did, what another president ever did is irrelevant to this debate. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: members are reminded not to eb gauge in personalities against the president. the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman is recognized. mr. smith: it's not a matter of
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speeding. it's someone stopped for speeding and saying there was no posted speed limit, how were you saying i was speeding? that is the argument. it's the argument a number of presidents have made is their article 2 authority for national security purposes gives them the legal right to do this. i would also note within a couple hundred years of history no court has ever said otherwise. has ever, you know, reversed one of these decisions by the president. so this notion that the president knew he was breaking the law and just did it and comparing it to two wrongs don't make a right or people speeding, it is the president's opinion -- and by the way, not just this president but every president that i'm aware of, including, again, george w. bush, this is not a violation of the law. this is not speeding. because of his article 2 authority. so it's not a matter of simply saying, if he broke the law and somebody else did it it's ok. it's arguing that none of those people actually broke the law. that is the argument and the debate. as far as the bill itself, yes,
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the president was very much aware of it. that it was in that bill when he signed the bill and part of the national defense authorization act. when he signed that bill he noted, i disagree with this portion. it could violate my article 2 authority. he simply noticed it was in there and gave us notice he did not feel it would legally bind him in serp circumstances. again, debatable point. all i know in a couple hundred years of history, the presidents, all of them, have won that debate. and now here we stand food saying this one president somehow uniquely condemned for doing what all before him have done and what all courts have said is perfectly ok. so, again, i find this to be more partisan than substantive. with that i yield four minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. becerra. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for four minutes. mr. becerra: i thank the gentleman for yielding.
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today the president is meeting with congressional leaders to discuss our strategy moving forward in iraq and syria to protect americans, our homeland and our national interests. it's hard to me for me to understand why we are debating this partisan resolution that would condemn the president and our government for having saved the life of an american soldier. sergeant bowe bergdahl. in the past month, we have seen with horror the sight of two americans killed at the hands of some of these deranged insurgents. not unlike the situation many of our american soldiers have faced in afghanistan where mr. bergdahl was captured and so
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here we have two weeks to go in this congressional session -- because we just got back from an august recess where there were no votes and we've already been told by the republican leadership in the house that they don't intend to be in session by more than -- more than two weeks now. this week, next week and maybe a couple in the next week. we'll deal with a budget, all other pressing matters, work with the president to come up with measures it's clear where we stand that impact americans abroad and at home and here we are debating a resolution that has no impact. it doesn't change the circumstances. bowe bergdahl is now alive and back home. it doesn't change the fact that james foley is still dead and so is steven so the love. they're both -- sotlopf. they're both still gone.
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what we do know is the military kept its commitment to our men and women in uniform when they say we never leave one of our own in military uniform behind. now, you can have this semantic discussion about whether a statute supersedes the constitution or whether this statute required the president to act a certain way. all i know is what general dempsey has said before. general dempsey being the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. martin dempsey, general dempsey said this with regard to the rescue of bowe bergdahl. this was likely the best opportunity to free him. now, anyone in this chamber has a right to argue whatever they want, but no one was in the shoes of bowe bergdahl. no one was in the shoes of general dempsey. at the end of the day, not one of us is in the shoes of president barack obama. and if that window is closing,
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he's got to make a decision because there's an american life on the line. if we don't believe that, just ask the families of mr. foley and mr. sotloff. bowe bergdahl is alive today. thank the lord. thank you, president obama. and thank you to our men and women in uniform who risked their own lives to make sure that men and women like that could come back home. we have two weeks to go before we're gone and out campaigning for election. you would think we would work on the things that people in america are concerned about most. they want us to not shut down this government again. they want us to make sure that we continue the success of the last 55 months of creating 10 million jobs. because remember, it was not too long ago, january, 2009, when george w. bush handed the keys over to barack obama at the white house, we bled 800,000 jobs in one month.
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we have more work to do to get people back to work. there are a whole bunch of families, including mine, who are sending their students to college. we have more student loans -- can i get one more minute? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. becerra: if the gentleman will yield? if the gentleman will yield one more minute? mr. smith: i yield the gentleman one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. becerra: we have more student loan debt in america, i was saying, held by our young men and women trying to get their college degrees and of course their parents, as well, who are paying for this than we hold in all the credit card debt in america today. does this bill do anything to help young americans and their parents help their kids get through college? not a thing. does this help an american who today works full time and still lives in poverty because he's working at a minimum wage job? not a thing. does this help a woman who is out there working just as hard as a man and doing the same exact thing but earning less money than he is?
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not a thing. we got work to do. bowe bergdahl is alive. let's praise that. let's make sure that every american can come back home and say the same thing and then let's get to work doing the work of this country. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from california. mr. mckeon: i appreciate his remarks on a lot of things, but we should get back to the subject at hand. this has nothing to do with sergeant bergdahl. this has to do with the action that the president took. sergeant bergdahl, we're all happy that he's home and we're glad that he's here and his case will be taken care of separately. there's a call to do something for the president. the president hasn't asked to us do anything yet. he isn't speaking until
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tomorrow and we'll see what he has to say and see how we move forward. you know, i'm not an attorney. my good friend from washington is a great attorney. and i recall when we had secretary hagel and secretary hagel made the comment that he thought what they did was within the law and my good friend responded, here's the way it works. the president signed the bill, said he disagreed with it, but that does not change it. it's still the law until it's challenged in the courts. that's our system. anyway, mr. speaker, at this time i'm happy to yield to my good friend from the other side of the aisle from georgia, two minutes, the gentleman from georgia, mr. barrow. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for two minutes. mr. barrow: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. speaker, i rise today as a supporter and a sponsor of this resolution and i appreciate my friend from virginia, mr.
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rigell, for working with me on this bipartisan effort to hold the administration accountable. under current law, the president is required to notify congress prior to releasing any prisoners from guantanamo bay. unfortunately, he failed to do that this summer when he transferred high-profiled detainees in exchange for sergeant bowe bergdahl. although i am grateful that sergeant bergdahl was reunited with his family, i refuse with the president negotiating with terrorists and making this prisoner exchange without consulting with congress in the manner required by law. the freeing of terrorists poses a national security threat to americans and our armed forces and it complicates our current efforts to combat terrorism worldwide. negotiating with terrorists would only weaken this nation in the future and encourage other terrorists to kidnap americans in attempt to extort future prisoner exchanges. checks and balances aren't
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negotiateable. it's unacceptable for this or any other administration to treat congress as an after-thought or adversary, particularly with decisions impacting our national security and especially since in this case congress could have helped the president get this decision right. for all these reasons, mr. speaker, i urge my colleagues to support this resolution, and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia yields back his time. the gentleman from washington is recognized. . mr. smith: thank you. i yield three noins mr. courtney. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from connecticut is recognized for three mibbles. mr. courtney: thank you, mr. speaker. as a member of the house armed services committee, i have the honor to serve under mr. mckeon and ranking member smith. i would like to just share a couple thoughts, having sat through the hearing with secretary hagel, where he was held to account. he was held accountable that day. he was asked very probing, difficult questions about a very difficult decision which was happening at mock speed when an opportunity, a small
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window of opportunity, opened up to recover an american soldier held in captivity by the enemy. when the president signed a national defense authorization act, including the 30-day notice, the administration put up a big red warning flag saying that the second, article two, rather, of the u.s. constitution, which empowers the president to be the commander in chief, conflicted with that section. and they reserved their rights to continue to act pursuant to the constitution. now, any first-year law student, frankly almost any high school student who takes american hit rit -- history, knows that a constitutional provision trumps a statute. that when there's a conflict of law between the constitutional provision and a statute, the constitution prevails. and the president, as secretary hagel laid out in ex crucialating -- excruciating detail, again, reviewed through the justice department their authority in realizing that,
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again, there was no plan b, there was no plan c to get sergeant bergdahl out of captivity. there was no special forces sort of ready to rev up and go in and free him. the fact of the matter is that this -- it was this or there was nothing and that exercising his rights under the constitution, they moved forward and freed sergeant bergdahl which apparently everybody grease with the outcome -- agrees with the outcome. they're just upset that the president's interpretation of the law is different than the committee. so, where are we with this resolution? is there a remedy? is anybody proposing to do anything other than just sort of issue what i think is just a political thing, criticizing the president for his actions? this resolution is a nullity in terms of any effect or impact that it actually has in terms of the president's actions. he's not being held to account impeachment which there was
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a lot of talk on the internet when this was all taking place, but that's not happening. so it's just really -- we're filling up space here on the floor of the house when we have so many other pressing issues. and at the end of the day, it's not going to change the events, it's not going to change the two sides in term ofs -- in terms of their interpretation of what happened here one iota. mr. speaker, again, i understand that people had an honest disagreement about the way the statute was interpreted and implemented. but what i will just say to you is that that's an honest disagreement, that happens and has happened in american history over and over again. we should move on, we should let the military do whatever disciplinary proceedings they're going to do with sergeant bergdahl, can i just have another 15 seconds? mr. smith: i yield the gentleman 30 seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. courtney: we should let the military act as they deem appropriate in terms of sergeant bergdahl's actions in the middle east but the fact of the matter is, secretary hagel, who came before this committee
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as a wounded warrior from the war in vietnam, an impeccable military history, one of the most outstanding individuals i've had the privilege to meet in washington, d.c., testified honestly and sincerely. he took his hits before the committee. let's move on. let's accept his explanation, disagree with it if we honestly feel that he acted improperly, but the fact of the matter is, he acted pursuant to the constitution. it's time for this congress to focus on real issues that have real affect on the american people. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. mckeon: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to my friend and colleague, a member of the committee on armed services, the gentleman from colorado, mr. lamborn. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from colorado is recognized for two minutes. mr. lamborn: i thank the chairman. and i rise today in strong support of h.r. 644. the president's actions in unilaterally swapping five taliban members for an american prisoner swept away a decades-old policy of not
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negotiating with terrorists. this policy prevents the united states from being extorted by evil people who hold no regard for human life. but the president's actions lead to an open season on americans all over the world. are we now in the business of negotiating with terrorists? is isil up next at the bargaining table with this administration? these were senior taliban detainees, not low-level foot soldiers. and will the administration stop at five next time? why not 50 or 100? this is unacceptable. the president's actions were also troublesome because he did not inform congress prior to making the swap. even the independent government accountability office explicitly said that this exchange broke the law. some will try to say that this is just partisan rhetoric, but what do they say to the findings of the nonpartisan g.a.o.? while it's a relief to have an american home, the way this was done further erodes the working relationship between the
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president and congress. the president asked the congress to act and pass bills. but how can we trust him with new legislation when time and time again he has abused that trust? how do we know he's not just going to ignore the next law that we send him? congress must stand up against the way this prisoner exchange took place. we are a nation that believes in the rule of law. we have a congress that makes law and a president who is supposed to enforce them. in this case, the law was broken and congress cannot remain silent. i urge everyone of my colleagues to support this important resolution. thank you, mr. speaker, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from colorado yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from washington. mr. smith: thank you, mr. speaker. may i inquire as to how much time is remaining? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington has seven minutes remaining. the gentleman from california has 10 minutes remaining. mr. smith: i yield myself two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. smith: the issue here of negotiating with terrorists misses the fact that this
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happened on the battlefield. the five taliban commanders were captured on the battlefield, as was bo bergdahl. this was a prisoner exchange, as has happened never war that we have fought. now, it's a slightly difficult situation because it's the taliban who are now out of power. we are fighting a group of insurgents. but nonetheless bo bergdahl was captured on the field of battle as were the taliban commanders. this was a prisoner exchange. to equate this with negotiating with terrorists i think misses the point of that aspect of it. that we were exchanging prisoners. not dealing with a straight terrorist situation. so i don't think it sets that precedent at all and i think we need to be aware that that was what the president was facing. and was the exchange a good deal? that's highly debatable. i'm glad i wasn't the commander in chief having to make that call. facing the deteriorating health of bo bergdahl and wondering if five taliban prisoners were worth saving his life. these sorts of decisions are made all the time.
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i would remind you that prime minister netanyahu of israel, no shrinking violent when it comes to terrorism, once exchanged over 1,000 palestinian prisoners for two israeli soldiers. because that was a prisoner exchange. that was bringing home the people that israel wanted brought home and it wasn't easy. so this is not simply a matter of, you know, negotiating with terrorists or giving away prisoners. it is the difficult choice of what you do to bring your own soldier home. a difficult choice that every president or prime minister whose country is in engaged in warfare has to face. i don't think we should diminish the difficulty of the importance of that decision. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. mckeon: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to my friend and colleague, a member of the committee on armed services, the gentlelady from indiana, mrs. walorski. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from indiana is recognized for two minutes. ms. walorski: thank you, mr. chairman. i rise in support today of house resolution 644, for which
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i'm a proud co-sponsor. this bipartisan bill condemns and disapprovings the obama administration's failure to comply with the lawful requirement to notify congress before releasing individuals detained at guantanamo bay and expresses national security concerns over the effects of releasing five taliban leaders and negotiating with terrorists. our constitutional system of checks and balances maintains a separation of powers that ensures congress is involved in major decisions that affect our country's national security. i have serious concerns when the president deliberately ignores congress, negotiates with terrorists and violates the law which requires that he consult with congress before releasing detainees. those five taliban leaders that were released are already responsible for the deaths of many americans. in 2010 they were determined too dangerous to transfer by president obama's own task force. one of the five had ties to bin laden himself, another is wanted by the united nations for war crimes. unfortunately there is a good chance that these five terrorists will return to their radical jihadist fight against
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america and against our western allies. nearly 30% of detainees re-engage in terrorist activity after being released. in any -- and any -- in any major decision of war and peace, congress must have a say because the american people must have a voice. as we continue to face many tough decisions over how to best protect americans at home and abroad, congress should be enact -- an active participant in decision making. i'll continue to work hard to ensure our homeland remains safe from terrorist attacks. i urge my colleagues to support this resolution and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from california. mr. mckeon: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to my friend and clige, a member of the -- colleague, a member of the foreign affairs committee, the gentleman from florida, mr. desans at the. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida voiced for two minutes. mr. desantis: mr. speaker, it seems to me you have two issues here. one, congress, which we have an imnumerated power to make rules for detainees captured on land and water. then you also have as the
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g.a.o. report pointedth pointed out a funding prohibition that with held funds contingent on the president providing that notification. and as madison said in the federalist papers, the power of the purse is the most effectual weapon we have in terms of vindicating trts of our constituent. so whatever the president's article two power is, clearly if we remove the funding, then he is not able to do that through the executive branch. so the question is, knowing that, why go ahead and do it? why not comply with both the statute and the funding restriction? i think the reason is because they knew this would not be popular with the american people. one of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle said, well, this statute really shouldn't apply in this situation because hardliners in the enemy camp can nix the deal. i got news for you, mr. speaker. the hardlines were the subject of the deal. i served in guantanamo for a
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time. the bush administration released detainees who they thought may not have been a danger anymore. nobody would have even suggested that this taliban five did not represent a danger to our national security. so here we have an instance where congress clearly exercised its authority in order to check the president on an issue with -- in terms of the terrorist detainees -- that his views are quite frankly not representative of the american people as a whole. we did that legitimately and this president decided to flagrantly violate the lawful actions that we took. i urge support for this resolution and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from washington. mr. smith: i continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington continues to reserve. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. mckeon: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to my friend and colleague, the gentleman schock.inois, mr. schock schock thank you, mr.
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speaker. i rise -- mr. schock: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in support of this resolution. the release of the taliban five in violation of a law that president obama himself signed is among the greatest examples of this administration's disregard of the constitution. it reflects contempt for this congress and for the people who are represented here. worst of all, his actions have emboldinned islamic militants and endangered american service personnel and civilians around the world. five years ago when i first came to congress, the president announced his intentions to close the terrorist detention facility at guantanamo bay. the justice department went shopping for a prison back in my state of illinois to relocate those most dangerous and hardens enemy combatants from the wars in afghanistan and iraq. back then, democrats had a majority in this house and a supermajority in the united states senate. but even then the president
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could not get authority from this congress, controlled by his party, in both chambers, to empty guantanamo and move terrorists, even detained barks here to united states soil. it's one thing for the president to defy any old law. it's another thing for the president to defy the very laws that he himself signed into law. president obama has gone even further. by refusing to notify congress of his intention to open the gates at gitmo and thus avoiding the anticipated political pressure that his carelessness would invite, the president has done the unthinkable. he's negotiated with terrorists. plain and simple. i would say that he's abused the office and the power which comes with it except in this case, he has done something that he doesn't even have the power to do. now, tonight the president will address the nation about his latest strategy to deal with islamic jihadists.
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but i would suggest that the world has seen enough of how this administration deals with terrorists and nothing he says tonight can hide the growing sense among jihadists around the world, that they finally have an american president who will negotiate with them. it's important for congress to tell the world where we stand, i urge my colleagues to vote yes on today's resolution. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. members are reminded to refrain from engaging in personalities against the president. the gentleman from washington. mr. smith: i have to ask, what is a personality against the president? personal attacks, perhaps? the speaker pro tempore: they're not allowed to engage in personal remarks related to the president. mr. smith: i yield three minutes to the gentlelady from texas, ms. jackson lee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for three minutes. ms. jackson lee: i think it is
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important to take note of the importance of this debate and as ell the respect that we as members of congress owe each other and owe this institution. i've long said that longevity comes not only because of the democratic principles of our constitution, but because there is the groundwork of the founding fathers and those who took to the floor of this place to debate such raging issues as the question of slavery in the 1800's. each time we are given the microphone, i think that we should adhere to the respect and each time we put our pen to painer to create legislation, it should equally be based on the grounds of respect and understanding of the constitutional divisions of the three branches of government.
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today, i think we have failed. --ay, i believe that this is the speaker pro tempore: i'm sorry. there is some sort of argument going on in the back of the chame -- >> mr. smith: i'm sorry, there is some sort of argument going on in the back of the chamber. the speaker pro tempore: if members will take their conversations off the house floor. the gentlelady may continue. ms. jackson lee: i thank the ranking member for his courtesy. this is, as i said, a personal attack against the president. if we would read the resolution, we would see five items that completely dictate the failure of the obama administration. now let me say that all of us concede the point that section 1035 that was added under the
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obama administration in 2012 or more recently does require or ask the president to give a 30-day notice to congress. no other president has been asked to do that. the president has been very clear on his intent to close guantanamo. many of us have been to guantanamo. but the issue before us was not an effort to close guantanamo. and so to suggest that there was malicious intent of this president is, from my perspective showing disrespect and dishonor to us, the institution, and the three bramples of government. let me be very clear. there is a debate on the powers that the president has, the war powers. some say there's a statute he had to notify us. but there was an explanation and this very strong committee, the armed services committee with the chairman who i respect, the ranking member, had a very thorough hearing that many of us
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were able to read some of the transcripts where the secretary of defense came and explained and i think one of the key elements for me as a member of homeland security is that the secretary made it very clear that this was a military operation with very high risk, spoken by secretary hay gal on june 11, 2014, and a very short window of opportunity we didn't want to jeopardize, both for the sake of sergeant bergdahl, of which there is a sentence that congratulates us for not leaving our precious treasure behind, and our operators in the field who put themselves at great risk to secure this return. if there are those of us who remember that brief glimpse that we had of the rescue, our men and women swooped down -- swooped down and picked up sernlt bergdahl. it was a military action. this is an unnecessary
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resolution. it is condemning, wrongly, the president had authority, and he explained what the action was. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expire. the gentleman from california is recognized. ms. jackson lee: it is untimely and wrong. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized. >> may i inquire how much time is left? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california has 4 1/2 minutes the re-main, the gentleman from washington has 2 1/2 minutes remaining. mr. mckeon: we have just one more speaker. the inference is this happened on the spur of the moment and they didn't have time to tell congress. these negotiations went on for months. 80 to 90 people admitted they told in four of the department the executive branch, but not one member of congress in compliance with the law. at this time, we reserve, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from washington is
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recognized. mr. smith: you are prepared to close? i'm prepared to close as well. i yield myself the plans of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. smith: on the point of the people noticed and how long this was going on for, yes, the negotiations were going on for three years. but the timeliness came in when they actually had a deal. the president's concern was once they got to the point where they had the deal, that if the details of it had been leaked, it would have nixed the deal and they were deeply concerned about sergeant bergdahl's health. this is an extraordinarily difficult call, i don't know if i would have done this deal or not. the commander in chief has that responsibility. other leaders throughout the world, including prime minister netanyahu, gave up over 1,000 prisoners in exchange for two israeli soldiers. those choices are very difficult. i'm sure those 1,000 palestinians that were captured posed some danger to israel.
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but the question isn't whether or not the deal should be done but whether or not we should condemn the president for a clear violation of the law. i will come back to the fact that this president has only done what every other president before him did in exercising his article 2 authority under his interpretation and every previous executive's, that this was legal. it has been implide throughout this resolution that the president looked at the law and said, yeah, not going to follow it. that's not what he did he did what every president before him has done he said he believed it was within his legal authority to make this decision system of to put forward a resolution that says he didn't that says he intentionally broke the law, i think is wrong on its face. this president made a determination about his article 2 authorities and went forward with it. he did not knowingly violate the law. secretary hagel has explained that repeatedly. and again, i said a little while ago that president bush did the exact same thing. violated any number of different laws and said article 2 was the
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reason. we've been told, that was years ago. i don't know what we would have done then. i've offered up the opportunity for anyone on the other side to as roundly criticize those actions by president bush now, haven't heard it. all of this leads us to the inescapable conclusion that this is more partisan than principled. this president is being condemned by the republican congress, all the other presidents who have done it, not going to do anything about that. that leads to the belief that this is a partisan action. we should have had a hearing on this. brought in secretary hagel he, explained himself. we criticized some of those decisions, that's appropriate this resolution is unprecedented. i think once again it shows that this body has become more partisan than principledism urge everyone to reject the resolution. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expire. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. mckeon: i'm leaving congress at the end of -- end of this
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year. but i'm sure at home i'll still be able to hear blame on president bush for at least the next two years. but one thing we can't -- but one thing, we can't escape the fact that this went on for months. even though they had to make a critical last-minute decision, they still had time to notify 80 to 90 people in the executive branch and not one member of the house of representatives. or the u.s. senate. in accordance with the law. mr. speaker, i am proud to yield at this time to give the concluding remarks on this debate to the vice chairman of the armed services committee, no, entleman from -- there's something else here. also chairman of the subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities, the gentleman from texas, mr. thornberry. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized to close.
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mr. thornberry: how much time remains? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman has 3 1/2 minutes. mr. thornberry: i thank the gentleman for yielding. i commend the gentleman, mr. rigell, for introducing this measure, shepherds it through the committee and onto the house floor. i think it's important for us to vote on this measure really for two reasons. one is that it's important for congress to speak clearly and directly when a president violates the law. now -- and that's exactly what g.a.o. said the administration did. they violated section 811. 8111. now it is true that throughout the country's history there have been differences of opinion about the constitutionality of various provisions of law. i think it is fairly rare, however that a president has chosen to violate a provision that is as clear as this one. there were no waiver authority, no ambiguity, there was no matter of interpretation.
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the law is clear, it says if you're going to transfer somebody from guantanamo bay, you've got to give 30 days notice. and they had meetings within the discussion that discussed whether to follow that 30-day requirement and decide not to do it. it was a clear cut decision not to follow the law. secondly, or in addition to that, the point was made by the gentleman from florida that they also violated the anti-deficiency act. now there's never been a dispute about the ability of congress to put conditions on funding and yet by carrying out this action, they spent funds for which they were not -- that they were not authorized to spend. which also violated a separate law. and they didn't have to tell everybody. they could have just told the speaker and majority leader. i think they're pretty safe at keeping secrets. and yet the president chose notment of the rule of law is important. it is fundamental to our system.
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and so it's important to speak clearly on that. but here's the second reason. the constitution gives congress a variety of powers related to national security. but in carrying out those powers, whether it's oversight of the money we spend, oversight of the operations, making decisions to authorize the use of military force, all of that depends upon congress having accurate, timely information. and this decision not to follow the law undercuts the trust that is required between the military and the intelligence community and the congress in carrying out our responsement -- responsibilities. tomorrow night, we're all going to listen to the president as he, hopefully, gives us his goals and strategy for achieving the goals to diminish and destroy isil. but all of that is possible only if there is an exchange of information so that we can carry out the responsibilities that
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the constitution puts upon us. when we don't have trust that the president and the military following his orders or the intelligence community following his orders are giving us that information, we can't have trust that we have the ability to carry out our duties under the constitution. on a bipartisan basis. in the last -- on a bipartisan basis in the last several year, we have set up oversight structures on cyber, terrorism, military operations that allow the military to operate in a complicated world but give us the information to get the information to carry out the oversight we have to have. that's the other reason this is important. this undermine that trust that is necessary for an executive and legislative branch to defend the couldn'tfully a complex world. far reason, i think it's important for us to speak clearly about it. because there are going to be more instances in the days ahead and we need, we deserve to have full information. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: all
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time for debate has expired. pursuant to house resolution 715, the previous question is ordered on the resolution and on the preamble as amended. the question is on adoption of the resolution. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the resolution is agreed. o the -- is agreed to. the gentleman from california is ecognized. mr. cohen: mr. speaker, i request a recorded -- mr. mckeon: mr. speaker, i request a recorded vote. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman request the yeas and nays? mr. mckeon: yes. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered.
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members will record their votes by electronic device. this will be a 15-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote, the yeas are 249, the nays are 163, the resolution is adopted. without objection a motion to reconsider is laid on the table. without objection, the title amended. pursuant to house resolution 715 and rule 18, the chair declares
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the house in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for the further consideration of h.r. 50 8. will the gentleman from -- of h.r. 5078. will the gentleman from georgia, collins, kindly ake the chair. the chair: the house is in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for further consideration of h.r. 5078, which the clerk will report by title. the chair: a -- the clerk: a bill to prosect existing rights and responsibilities in troord water and for other purposes. the chair: when the committee rose earler -- earlier, the vote on the motion of the gentleman from new york, mr. bishop, had been postponed. proceedings will now resume on proceedings printed in the
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report in which proceedings were postponed in the following order. earment number two by mr. bishop of new york and amendment number three by mr. bishop of new york. the chair will reduce to two minutes the time needed for any vote in this series. the gentleman from new york, mr. wish -- bishop and on which the noes prevailed by voice vote. the clerk will redesignate the amendment. the chair: amendment number two 181, in house report offered by mr. bishop of new york. the chair: a recorded vote has been requested. those in support of the request for a recorded vote will rise. a sufficient number having risen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this will be a two-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or
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commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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